In August, the Macomb County Department of Roads began rehabilitation of the Harper Avenue bridge over the Clinton River Spillway. The project is expected to finish between mid-February and early March.

In August, the Macomb County Department of Roads began rehabilitation of the Harper Avenue bridge over the Clinton River Spillway. The project is expected to finish between mid-February and early March.

Photo by Alex Szwarc


Clinton Township bridge project expected to wrap up by early March

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published January 25, 2022

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Since the summer, work has been underway for a rehabilitated bridge in Clinton Township.

The Macomb County Department of Roads, or MCDR, began rehabilitation of the Harper Avenue bridge over the Clinton River Spillway second week of August. The bridge is in Clinton Township, north of Metropolitan Parkway (16 Mile Road).

The MCDR’s website indicates the total cost is $2,529,000.

Harper Avenue is closed in both directions from Alpine Street to Wellington Crescent.

On Jan. 12, Eric Dimoff, MCDR public information officer, said work is expected to be completed between mid-February and early March.

In describing the project, Dimoff said that, to support structural integrity and to correct load restrictions on the bridge, rehabilitation work primarily includes the replacement of the pin and hanger components.

“Pin and hangers are the structural components that connect the suspended span of the bridge to the fixed arm of the bridge,” he commented. “Pin and hangers are designed to allow the bridge superstructure to properly expand and contract and to support the transfer of forces from the suspended span of the bridge to the fixed arm of the bridge.”

Longtime Clinton Township resident Dana Dugger resides just east of the construction project. He said this is the second bridge rebuild he has experienced.

The week of Jan. 10, the road department stated that the contractor will be installing the pin and hangers, which are anticipated to arrive in the coming days.

“The pandemic has had a significant impact on the construction industry, making several materials short on supply, causing delays to obtain some of these materials,” Dimoff said.

Bryan Santo, MCDR director, said the department understands the challenges Macomb County residents and motorists face around work zones and that it appreciates the patience of the public.

“The Department of Roads will continue to encourage timely completion from the contractor to ensure the finished product meets our safety and quality standards,” he said.

Dugger said MCDR advertised on message boards on Harper that the project would run from Aug. 15 to Nov. 15.

In response to that, Dimoff said anticipated project timeframes are estimates and are subject to change.

“The project was affected by material delays and additional deck patching work that needed to be completed,” he said. “Painting and restoration work will also be taking place, weather permitting.”

Dugger noted that concrete work, painting and other tasks face temperature-related restrictions.

“The businesses along Harper continue to suffer,” he said. “When a business plans for a three-month interruption to their customer base, only to have it stretched to six months, or more, it can have devastating consequences.”

He did credit the laborious efforts of bridge workers, saying there are six employees on jackhammers for 8-10 hours a day.

“It’s brutal work, but the crew is nice guys and girls; it’s just a tremendous amount of work,” Dugger said.

To navigate around the bridge heading south, Dugger said his two choices are to take Union Lake Road to Crocker Boulevard, to 16 Mile Road, to Gratiot Avenue or Interstate 94. Or he can take Harper to Crocker to Gratiot south.

Regarding sidewalk work on the bridge, the resident said the bridge always had sloped approaches, so that individuals in a wheelchair could cross the sidewalk.

“Now, on the north end of the bridge, we have a six-inch curb,” Dugger said. “Now it’s not usable for someone in a wheelchair or mobility device.”

Dimoff notes that the original structure did not include dedicated pedestrian facilities, and the scope of the rehabilitation project does not include adding pedestrian facilities to the bridge.

“The raised concrete curb on either side of the bridge is not intended to be a sidewalk,” he said. “This was a typical design at the time this bridge was originally built. The concrete spillways at the north end of the structure were installed to provide proper drainage for water from the roadway and are not intended to be utilized as a sidewalk.”

Additional work includes deck patching with an epoxy overlay, expansion joint replacements, and cleaning and coating of the structural steel girders to preserve their integrity.

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